Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I Feel a Disturbance in the Internet

So I wanted to write this post last week but Christmas, you know. Unless you have been living under a rock recently, I'm sure you heard the news about Phil Robertson and Justine Sacco. Both of them were lambasted on the internet for some really stupid comments they made. I'm not here to justify what either of them said. I personally didn't find anything racist in either comment, just stupid and ignorant in Justine's case and uber-religious and badly-worded in Phil's case. I can see how people were offended but I'm not sure I classify either as racist per say (IMO).

What concerns me the most about these two, is not the comments that they made, but the way the internet reacted. Maybe I'm idealistic but I firmly believe that everyone has the right to say something idiotic and not have an unruly mob go after them. They certainly don't deserve to lose their jobs over it. The sheer venom and anger that people on the internet unleashed after those two made their now infamous comments was worse than what those two said in the first place.

Internet this is what you looked like

I have never seen such a despicable display as the comments made after Justine Sacco's tweet. Here are just a few of the worst that are still floating around the interwebz.

Sure what Justine said was ignorant but hoping the girl gets raped? Way out of line. Apparently there were death threats on her and members of her family. Pictures of her daughter on instagram were covered in hateful comments and threats.

Dear Internet: THIS IS NOT OKAY.

In fact, this is about 100xs worse than what Justine said in the first place. She made an ignorant comment, you threatened physical violence against her, her family and her child. In what world is that okay?

Frankly, I really don't understand why Justine's tweet was singled out for being especially bad. A twitter search on any given day will give you hundreds of racist or homophobic tweets that were just as bad or worse than what she said. This isn't an excuse for her behavior and what she wrote, I just find it circumspect that a girl with less than 200 twitter followers gets that kind of publicity. I'm almost suspicious that someone at Buzzfeed had it out for her, bit that's neither here nor there.

Either way Internet, you do not get to be an unruly mob. Put your fucking pitchforks away and stop thinking it is okay to bully people on the internet. Yes, what Justine said was awful but the way you bullied the girl was just as awful.
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